the 11 stages Of shaolin kungfu combat

Achieving Mastery in the Art of Shaolin Kungfu Fighting

1. Preparation

In the preparation stage there is a focus on strength and basic training, so here you will get familiar with the famous Shaolin combat circuit, you will practice flexibility and balance, start with flexibility kicks and you will be guided deeper into the coordination skills (Shen Fa), that every fighter has to internalize. A strong focus will be on combat footwork, the suitable fist and leg techniques will be discussed in detail. Then the student will move on to the fist & leg techniques in combination, the counterattack techniques will be introduced. Our preparation course should be repeated 5 to 10 times, so that will sum up to 50 to 100 hours of attractive Shaolin preparation activities.

The masters in the world can hardly be counted – Buddha –

2. Foundation

Imagine yourself building a house, here first you have to think about the foundation, without proper groundwork the house will shatter in the first breeze. Likewise, you can not fight without having the necessary foundation skills, which will be demonstrated to you at this level. Be clear that also this stage has to be repeated 5 to 10 times, which will add up again to 50 to 100 hours of attractive Shaolin foundation activities. The normal watching time is 10 hours, e.g. will you here increase the number of press-ups, turning punches and knee raises, also, you will be introduced to the secrets of Shaolin stretching, and your balance control will be improved so your balance will be similar to the roots of an old tree. Then, there will be more flexibility kicks introduced, the body coordination will be practiced with more advanced techniques. At the end of this stage, there will be a deeper focus on the fighting stances, the basic footwork with the incredibly powerful movements will be explained in detail, as well as the Shaolin combat fist techniques will be brought to a higher level. Here you will mainly practice three major punches, as well as all thinkable combinations of them. Now you will be introduced to the powerful Shaolin shadow boxing movements, as well as the right way to punch and use a boxing bag, and then proceed to pad work in the ancient use. The combat kicks will be slowly presented to the students, so you can do single training and group practice, bag training, or pad work. There will be a detailed explanation of push kicks and round kicks in this stage as well. Finally, the combinations of fist and leg techniques will be shown to the practitioners, followed by more subtle counterattack techniques, combined with round kicks and defense for it. Here the power of Qi (an ancient Chinese breathing technique) is introduced for strength so that the muscles and tendons are getting able to fit the needs of an experienced Shaolin combat master.

All suffering is caused by ignorance 

– Buddha –

3. Rooster

Master Yan Zi decided to use the rooster as a symbol for stage one, cause the rooster is up early, so the student should start training when he hears the crow of the rooster in the morning. As a rooster, you will practice with good discipline and with suitable willpower a deeper understanding of combining strength and stamina. Here the teachings of the Shaolin Temple will come down to the practitioner, he/she will learn new combat techniques, fist and leg coordination in combination with newly introduced knee strikes, and also learn how to use the force of the opponent for your own benefits, how to attack vulnerable spots in the body, as well as the weak points to hit, how to break bones (gently and with Buddhist patience) as well as how to attack joints. All that will be taught in several combinations and with the importance of full body coordination. Here is the first time an ancient Shaolin combat form is. partly introduced, namely Shaolin Xiao Hong Quan (part 1), which will be deeper be introduced in the next stages. Be aware that also in this stage the student has to repeat 5 to 10 times, which will add up again to 50 to 100 hours of attractive Shaolin rooster stage activities.

Doubt everything. Find your own light – Buddha –

4. Oxen 

The character of the oxen is very clear to us, they are famous for enjoying a good reputation because of their sense of responsibility, ambition, and down-to-earthiness, and they are given a lot of trust. Even if there are difficult hurdles on their way, the oxen are famous to overcome them thanks to diligence and perseverance. In this stage the training is getting much harder than before, so everything has to reach almost combat level here. We learn a new punch with several combinations, and a severe sidekick (Chuay Tui) now, applied in different counterattack forms. On top here the internal training is getting more demanding, and more powerful and your kicks and punches will seriously benefit you now. Shaolin Xiao Hong Quan is again a subject in this stage (part 2), this form is a great preparation for a real combat situation. As it is known from the oxen animal, his greatest strength is his unwillingness to compromise, which makes him cling to traditional views. On that, the next stage will build up. Be aware that also in this stage the student has to repeat 5 to 10 times, which will add up again to 50 to 100 hours of attractive Shaolin oxen stage training.

Only when I was free from the desire to become something, or to be something, only when I no longer felt any desire or inclination, only then did “enlightenment” come to me – Buddha –

5. Horse 

The character of the horse, what is certain, however, is that the horse played an important role in the development of mankind. It served as a beast of burden, a means of transport, and a companion in war, and contributed significantly to economic and cultural progress. Today, clever animals are used mainly for leisure and sports. The horse can run much faster than the oxen, so that is why master Yan Zi has chosen this animal to symbolize the upcoming stage. As the horse is the token of mastery in this stage of Shaolin combat Kung Fu, all previous exercises are done with more speed now, using more energy and building higher stamina for the student. Here, the training is getting seriously demanding: “no pain, no gain”- that is a motto for the prospective Shaolin combat masters. In this level, you will also learn new things, like new footwork, secret Shaolin fist techniques, and powerful sweep kicks, as well as combinations of them, attack and counter-attack forms. The internal training for strength is combined now with old health movements and breathing techniques so that you can develop an enhanced physique and great body awareness, which gives you the chance to age healthy and stay fit in the long term. Again, Shaolin Xiao Hong Quan is deepened in this class (part 3), but actually, this form needs to be practiced as a separate form, it will no longer be discussed in this class. Again in this stage, the student has to be repeating the techniques 5 to 10 times, which will add up again to 50 to 100 hours of exceptional Shaolin horse stage training.

Fear not what will become of you, but rely on no one – Buddha –

6. Dog 

Each dog develops its own personality and distinctive character, the dog is the best friend of the human, and it has a great idiosyncrasy. In Kung Fu terms, the dog stands for students which stick with their style but do not give up their martial arts style, not changing the directions, not wasting what they learned in the past. Even though Shaolin’s techniques are simple at first glance, the students need to be patient and have determination, honesty, and a clear heart. Then, he/she will see the mountaintop for the first time, but still, there is a long way uphill to go. The dog is the first intermediate level, you are getting better, your skills are improving, your body is getting ripped, your confidence is stronger, your knowledge is power, and you can recognize the morals and the fakes and wannabes. Your understanding of Kung Fu is alert, the practitioner will become slowly but steadily a combat warrior. In this level, you will learn a unique Shaolin fist technique that will blow your mind, and you will be introduced to spinning kicks. The new techniques will open your mind, the ancient Chinese combat treasures will be revealed and updated to a new level. Still, the student has to master the attack and counter-attack techniques on this level, all that you learned in previous stages will be done with higher impact and more energy involved. As said before, the student has to practice additional Shaolin Xiao Hong Quan form in their free time, so the movements are not forgotten (from now on, not anymore part of this class). As in all previous stages, the student has to be repeating the techniques 5 to 10 times, which will add up again to 50 to 100 hours of extraordinary Shaolin dog stage training.

The whole secret of existence is to have no fear – Buddha –

7. Monkey

Monkeys are full of ideas, and imagination and always have new thoughts, they have great skill and are successful, they are very fast, their reaction is extraordinary, their flexibility and coordination are like with no other animal, and footwork and distance control are basic for a monkey. Also, the monkey balances their bodies like “Yoga gurus“, and high-level intelligence round the monkey’s character up. Here the strength training is increased, and the number of exercises will be higher, monkeys have great powers, and wonderful coordination. At this level, more coordination techniques are added and introduced by the master. You will learn another unique fist technique, more leg movements, and other ancient Shaolin secrets, yet you keep on practicing attack and counter-attack combinations “like a monkey“. Internal breathing and Qi Gong techniques are a big part of this stage as well, so you become stronger and healthier in the long run. A special Shaolin short stick form is as well implemented in this stage. As in all previous levels, the student has to be repeating the techniques 5 to 10 times, which will add up again to 50 to 100 hours of attractive Shaolin monkey stage training.

What hits us comes from thinking, always goes back to thinking – Buddha –

8. Snake

Snakes are actually rather introverted and reserved. People with the zodiac sign Snake know exactly what they want. They pursue their goals consistently and with a lot of perseverance. The Chinese zodiac sign Snake symbolically stands for wisdom. But this sign is as enigmatic as it is serene. Characterized by a great deal of charisma, this sign is particularly sensitive, and prudent, and has an enormous knowledge of human nature. The very complex nature of the snake is extremely fascinating to others. In this stage you will learn and understand the real power and the skill of the snake, it can even wrap its body around its opponent, it is soft but full of power, and you will be able to deduct all energy. When the snake attacks it is very fast, but soft in its movements, these points will be transferred to the students. In Chinese martial art, the snake symbolizes the Qi, the internal power, which has to be valued like a jewel. The snake is always able to follow, waiting for its chance and opportunity, so in this level, you learn about the skills for the attack, with a high percentage of success. The flexibility of the snake is extraordinary, so for all this reasons, master Yan Zi has chosen the snake to be the animal of the 6th stage of his Shaolin combat Kung Fu course. As in all previous stages, the student has to be repeating the techniques 5 to 10 times, which will add up again to 50 to 100 hours of amazing Shaolin snake stage training.

The righteous shuns and detests injury to living beings, lies and slander. He speaks the truth and is unrighteous against people. He speaks words that create harmony – Buddha – 

9. Crane 

In Chinese mythology, the crane is a symbol of long life, wisdom, old age, and the relationship between father and son, this bird is even revered as a divine messenger from heaven. The crane is very good at controlling, so the body of the student will be after exercising in great balance, any movement is smooth and beautiful as well as easy to control in any situation. A high standard of coordination with exceptional movements and techniques will appear like magic to the viewer. Who is using this technique easily controls the opponent without the counterpart realizing what is going on with him/her. Here you will learn new techniques, like high-standard movements that resemble the actual crane behaviors. The more the student progresses now, he will find him/herself in this level able to choose the favorite techniques, and the fighting style suitable for the individual. Finally, you can choose your favorite style, then the mastery is concentrated on this personal choice. All the forms that have to be studied on the side (e.g. Qi Gong) will be discussed. As in all previous stages, the student has to be repeating the techniques 5 to 10 times, which will add up again to 50 to 100 hours of wonderful Shaolin crane stage training.

Your work is to discover your work and then to give yourself to it wholeheartedly – Buddha – 

10. Leopard 

A leopard symbolizes pure strength and speed, great agility, unbelievable stealth, pure elusiveness, great perception, exceptional self-reliance, raw authenticity, and undoubtedly beauty, its spirit is an important power animal for many people around the world, and the results of its bites are powerful, its jumps are astonishing. That is why master Shi Yan Zi has chosen the leopard to symbolize the 8th stage of the Shaolin combat course, cause as a symbol of great abilities, the leopard should inspire the students to believe that they can handle much more than they initially thought they can since the leopard has high success in its doings. In this level, the priority is to improve the percentage of your technique, e.g. like you practice shooting and you get better results with more practice. You build up on your favorite technique and get higher results and more confidence in your actions. The physical body is a dangerous weapon now, you learn responsibility, mentally following the Chan philosophy. Martial arts are not for bullying other people, if you lose that balance you will seriously suffer. Modesty and understanding will be built up here, taking the values of the Shaolin Temple, and having awareness of the moral side of your doings. Internal forms are still recommended to practice at that stage, building on your overall abilities as a fighter. As in all previous stages, the student has to be repeating the techniques 5 to 10 times, which will add up again to 50 to 100 hours of unforgettable Shaolin leopard stage training.

As a solid rock is unshaken by the wind, so are the wise unshaken by praise or blame – Buddha – 

11. Lion 

The tradition of the lion guarding the people has its origin in Buddhism and through its spread also found its way into the neighboring countries of China and from there all over the world, Leo means luck, power, protection, and peace in Chinese star signs. Lions by the way also represent the power and fearlessness of a Buddha, so, therefore, master Shi Yan Zi picked that animal to represent the final stage of his Shaolin combat Kung Fu program, cause the lion is among the „miraculous” animals whose presence indicates the favor of heaven. Also, the lion takes a special position in the Chinese martial arts of the Shaolin within the so-called animal styles, the lion even has its own style. In Buddhism the roar of the lion is like the teaching of the master, it can wake you up, and powerful wisdom will come over you. At this level, you have to go beyond thinking and your natural reactions become second nature. Calmness and stillness will be your companions, fearless and full of confidence the student reaches now the top of the hill. The lion only uses its skill if he has to, he can let his surrounding feel his power and energy, and without fighting he can control the situation. This you will learn in the final stage of the course. To become this level your internal and external wisdom has to be in balance. Maybe you have good skills but if you lack wisdom you will not succeed, you can rely on your techniques, and you can control everything very well. E.g. you can knock out your opponent but if you feel he/she is not on your level you will be able to control your power, Kung Fu is for stop fighting, not for killing, you don’t need to use your full abilities to be in control, helping people comes from real confidence. Even if you practice 1000 times, once you want to use your skills you need to do serious decisions, master Shi Yan Zi will guide you here as well. If you came to this level, you have a lot of fighting experience. As in all previous stages, the student has to be repeating the techniques 5 to 10 times, which will add up again to 50 to 100 hours of remarkable Shaolin lion stage training. Overall there is the wisdom of Chan-Buddhism of the Shaolin Kung Fu monks.

Only when I was free from the desire to become or to be something, only when I no longer felt any desire or inclination, only then did the “enlightenment” come to me – Buddha –

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